Bryan Cranston Signed on to ‘The Upside’ Knowing His Casting Was Problematic — Here’s Why

IndieWire | 1/9/2019 | Staff
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Bryan Cranston got the jump on would-be critics of his latest film role. The actor stars in “The Upside,” the Hollywood remake of the hit French film “The Intouchables,” a 2011 buddy comedy which follows the unlikely friendship between a wealthy quadriplegic white man (Cranston) and his black ex-con home health aide (Kevin Hart). Both films are inspired by the the real life friendship between French businessman Philippe Pozzo Di Borgo and his French-Algerian caretaker, Abdel Sellou. Both films cast an able-bodied actor in the role of Philippe.

“Well, that’s another business decision,” Cranston told IndieWire about the choice. “Wasn’t even my decision, but maybe that points out to bring more focus on disadvantaged or disabled actors, to be put in positions to have more opportunities and more diversity.”

Indie - Film - Actor - Adam - Pearson

Indie film actor Adam Pearson, who played opposite Scarlett Johansson in the 2013 film “Under the Skin,” and more recently as a lead in Aaron Schumburg’s “Chained for Life,” criticized Cranston’s casting. “Yet even more ‘cripping up’ in Hollywood, this time by, regrettably, one of my favourite actors [Bryan Cranston],” the actor tweeted recently. “Referring to it as a ‘business decision’ was a poor choice of words.”

Much like arguments put forth by those who wish to see the end of cisgender actors playing transgender roles, Pearson pointed out the disproportionate number of awards won by abled actors in disabled roles compared to any awards won by actors with disabilities.

Cranston - Movie - Discussion - Privilege - Income

Cranston pointed to the movie’s discussion of white privilege and income disparity as one reason why he thought this story...
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